I have always hated socks. I find them tight, binding, and totally uncomfortable. When I’m forced to wear them, I choose thin ankle socks and peel them off the moment I get home. As for shoes — although I can appreciate a stylish high heel and have been known to drool over a sexy boot — I usually slip on flip-flops or Converse in my day-to-day life. And even those choices become an issue for my super-narrow, arch-less flat feet.
Perhaps my tootsie-related quirks are why I prefer to go barefoot. If I could hang out with my toes out in the open at all times, I’d be thrilled. However, that’s not a practical choice, especially for someone like myself who lives in a bustling city. And despite the fact that I work from home, everyday tasks like errands and appointments mean that I’m regularly beating the streets with my feet.
But what would it be like to become a full foot nudist? Is it possible to totally reject socks and shoes?
Dr. A. K. Misra of US Healthworks says that “it is more consistent with our evolutionary history to be barefoot, dating back to our transitioning from bipedal mammals to Cro-Magnon man, to our current form as a human species. Footwear of any kind is a relatively new phenomenon that mainly came out of necessity for protective purposes against injury only, and wasn’t done for comfort and certainly not for fashion purposes.”
“Most of our human history was indeed spent barefoot and there are several schools of thought that we are missing out on health benefits we would be getting by having our skin touch soil, sand, clay, and other natural surfaces because certain earth minerals can be absorbed via the skin,” Dr. Misra added.
However, the medical professional also explained that there can be a downside. “When people with an active lifestyle switch to barefoot walking, problems can arise. Walking barefoot results in the engagement of muscles in the leg compartments that often are not highly engaged when wearing conventional footwear. Thus, participating in a physical activity while barefoot (walking, jogging, running) may cause one to experience sore muscles in their legs, particularly in the calves.”
Armed with the knowledge that there are both benefits and drawbacks to going without shoes or socks (but not knowing what else to expect), I attempted to go barefoot for an entire week. This is how I (and my feet) fared.